Loving God, Love All

Love of All Trumps Vengeance

“Thou makest no distinction between Thy fathers and strangers, nor Thy Mother and maidservents, nor her that suckled Thee and the unclean. Was it Thy forwardness or Thy love, o Thou that lovest all? What moves Thee that Thou didst let all that saw Thee have Thee, both rich and poor? Thou helpest them that called thee not. … How great was Thy love, that if one rebuked Thee, Thou wast not wroth! If a man threatened Thee, Thou wast not terrified! … Thou art above the laws of the avengers of injuries. …

Come rest, and be still in the bosom of Thy mother, Son of the Glorious. Forwardness fits not the sons of kings. … When the wrathful came to see Thee, Thou madest them gladsome; … He that hath care came and saw Thee, and his care fled away. He that had anxiety; at Thee forgot his anxiety. … Thou who lovest men, hast bound men together by Thy gladsomeness.” ~St. Ephraim the Syrian

Love of All

The person St. Ephraim is talking about is Jesus. But it could also be one of several great saints and spiritual leaders.

We all say we value love above everything, yet few of us can honestly claim that we love everyone, and even fewer can say that we love all equally. Almost all would say that they love their spouse, their parents, their children, and their friends above others; and if they say otherwise, they are probably lying to themselves and to others. We are all guilty of favoritism, whether it is a favorite person, car, game, TV show, or movie. My dogs are my favorite furry folk, and I will protect them to the best of my ability from anyone or anything that tries to harm them. That is all human nature, enhanced by social norms and upbringing. But as nice as it sounds, it is this favoritism of ours that leads to us dividing into groups, waring against other groups, stealing from others, enslaving others. It is therefore something a spiritual person should seek to overcome. Continue reading “Love of All Trumps Vengeance”

knowledge, great university, truth stages, ontologism, gnostics

The Source of Christian Gnosticism

“The first key that one has to use to unravel the dark secrets involved in the mystic name of Christ, is the key which unlocked the door to the ancient mysteries of the primitive Aryans, Sabeans and Egyptians. The Gnosis supplanted by the Christian scheme was universal. It was the echo of the primordial wisdom-religion which had once been the heirloom of the whole of mankind; and, therefore, one may truly say that, in its purely metaphysical aspect, the Spirit of Christ (the divine logos) was present in humanity from the beginning of it. … We may learn from the Gospel according to Luke, that the ‘worthy’ were those who had been initiated into the mysteries of the Gnosis, and who were ‘accounted worthy’ to attain that ‘resurrection from the dead’ in this life. … In other words, they were the great adepts of whatever religion.” ~H. P. Blavatsky

The Mystic Name of Christ

What is Blavatsky talking about when she says “the mystic name of Christ”? What she is saying is that “Christ” is more of a title than a name, like king, queen, or high priest. She is also saying that as such, this title belonged to more than one individual during the many thousands of years of human history. She is also saying that Christ is a mystical, or more accurately a spiritual being. Christ is not a man. The Christ spirit can be in a man as it was in Jesus during His life, but it doesn’t mean Christ is just a human being, He isn’t. She also says that the key to unlocking the true meaning of Christ, and the original teaching of Jesus can be found in the mysteries of the ancients, especially the Egyptians (I would add the Greeks to her list, especially Plato). Continue reading “The Source of Christian Gnosticism”

Demon or Angel

Man: God or Beast, Choose Wisely

Man: God or Beast

“Humanity, in reality, is poised midway between gods and beasts, and inclines now to the one order, now to the other; some men grow like to the divine, others to the brute, the greatest number stand neutral. But those that are corrupted to the point of approximating to irrational animals and wild beasts pull the mid-folk about and inflict wrong upon them; the victims no doubt better than the wrongdoers, but are at the mercy of their inferiors in the field in which they themselves are inferior, where, that is, they cannot be classed among the good since they have not trained themselves in self-defense.
”A gang of lads … in good physical training, attack and throw another set, … and make off with their food and their dainty clothes. What more is called for than a laugh? And surely the lawgiver would be right in allowing the second group to suffer this treatment, the penalty of their sloth and self-indulgence. … But the evil-doers also have their punishment.” ~Plotinus

Man truly is poised between god and beast, and is the only life form on Earth that can decide which side of that equation to pursue. The dog can only be a dag, the same for the horse or cat or bug. Only man has the ability to choose to be something greater, or worse.

In a sense, Plotinus is correct in saying that most choose neutrality in this, neither trying to be more spiritual, more godlike, nor trying to be more barbaric and more animal. In the long term, however, there can be no neutrality in this since those who fail to awaken and use their spiritual faculties are doomed to descend into the animal kingdom when they die. The idea that a person becomes worthy of going to Heaven, the highest of spiritual realms, simply because he has dropped dead is nonsense. Even if a person has committed no great evil in his life, if he has failed to awaken his spirit and soul while alive, he cannot head toward heaven when he dies anymore than the man who cannot swim can escape the pursuing barbarians by swimming across a wide river. Of course, the evil person is in even worse shape than the neutral one. Not only can he not go to heaven, but he must face karma throughout this life and beyond for his evil deeds.

In some places, spiritual people seem to frown upon physical and intellectual development. Plotinus points out the foolishness of this attitude with regard to the physical, and the same is true of the intellectual. Some think that developing the physical body, making it strong and healthy is behaving too much like that beast-man, but it isn’t. Being physically strong and healthy is good for the spiritual person, Plotinus says, so he can defend himself from the evil barbarians. That is true, but it is not the only reason. One of the duties of an advanced spiritual person is to teach others what she has learned and help them to grow spiritually as well. This can be done better by a strong, healthy person than by one who is weak and sick all the time. This doesn’t mean that you need to be an Arnold Schwarzenegger with huge muscles, but you can be reasonably strong and healthy without becoming a total materialist—which is, of course, undesirable.

We also need to develop our intellect as well, even if we are spiritual people. For one thing, a person with a good education can get a better job, and most of us need to do that. Second, Satan and his minions use intellect as their main method of controlling others and getting them to stay trapped in materialism and a life of fear and empty pursuits. When Satan spoke with Jesus in the Desert and tried to convince Him to give up all that spiritual nonsense, he gave up after a relatively short time. Why? Because the answers Jesus gave him told Satan that Jesus had just as sharp an intellectual mind as he had a spiritual one and could not be tricked with intellectual arguments. That is another reason, probably the most important reason, to pursue intellectual development. Just as with the physical, however, one should not get too carried away with it and drop his spiritual growth by the wayside to develop the intellect to its fullest.

3 legged stool

3 legged stool

You can think of it as a three-legged stool. If one leg is weaker or shorter than the others, or is missing entirely, the stool cannot stand very well. Granted, you may be able to get a two-legged, or even one-legged stool to balance briefly, but they are easily knocked over. The stool with three strong legs: physical, mental, spiritual; is the most stable and will stand better than the others. And choose to be a god, not a beast.

Woman given wisdom

The Woman Given Wisdom

The Woman Saved and Given Wisdom

“O what amazement befell the Evil One, of a sudden, my brothren: when the sinful woman was corrected, and gained Wisdom! Glory to the one who alone conquered the Evil One. … The Evil One marveled ‘Where is her laughter? Where her perfumes? Where her dancing and outward ornament, and inward wickedness?’ … Naught lasts in her: from our instructions she has escaped and cast away all that I taught her. She has denied us and our acquaintance, and even as though she had never seen me she has blotted my image out of her mind. The living leaven of Jesus flew to her, Jesus was silent: but she made bold to press and enter, though none called her. … Zaccheus I made chief of executioners, and her I made chief of wantons; my two wings, Jesus has broken. … I shut men’s eyes that they might not perceive, … Jesus opened their eyes to see.” ~St. Ephraim the Syrian

It may truly have been a shock to Satan that the woman he considered one of his servants, Mary Magdalene (or Mary of Magdala), not only turned away from him, but turned to his greatest enemy: Jesus Christ. Of course, this is the opinion of St. Ephraim and we don’t know that Satan was surprised by this at all. In either case, the point is made.

When Jesus saved her from those attempting to stone her to death, she was very grateful, but it was more than that. Being on the edge of death, and being pulled back, can cause great changes in people. They will start looking at things differently. They may, as Mary apparently did, realize the folly of living for immediate, but short-lived pleasures, and start thinking more long term. They may start seeing thing differently, with greater truth. It was with those newly awakened eyes that she gazed upon Jesus and recognized Him as more than just the gentleman who had saved her. She was, to some degree, awakened at that point and became one of his most devoted followers.

Satan complains that she has escaped his instructions and cast away that which he taught her. What does he mean? Did Satan actually give classes to Mary and others on how to serve him? No, he didn’t. He works in a much more subtle way. By whispering in your ear during a moment of weakness. By subtly encouraging you to act out of fear instead of reason. By pointing out how others are richer, prettier, smarter than you in an effort to make you jealous. He may not have schools in every village and town, but he and his minions are there teaching, nonetheless. Subtly so we don’t realize who we are listening to, who we are letting drag us around on a leash. Stephen King’s book Needful Things is a good example of this system at work.

Of course, Mary didn’t change drastically overnight. She changed enough to join Jesus and become one of His disciples, and continued to change more and more as she listened to what He said and practiced the spiritual development techniques that he taught. According to the Gospel of Mary, she grew spiritually at a rate faster than most of the others and became a favorite of Jesus because of it. Some consider that gospel false, however, but it may be a real one, though not written by Mary herself.

The last part of the quote is also interesting. The too great tools of Satan, at least according to St. Ephraim, were Zaccheus the executioner, and Mary the wanton women. That both became disciples of Jesus and turned away from the ways of Satan is certainly a dramatic way to clip or break Satan’s wings, as Ephraim puts it. This statement, of course, is more important in it’s allegorical meaning than in it’s literal accuracy. That Christ could easily take Satan’s favorite tools away from him shows that even in Satan’s realm of matter, God and Christ remain supreme. It also illustrates that point that no mater where we are in life, no matter how far we have fallen, we can still chose to turn around and follow the Path to God, as Mary and most of the other disciples did.